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Saddam – Reactions and What Next?

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Is any group of humans more consistently wrong about their decisions and opinions than the vaunted “Arab Street”? Is there a more perverse, self-defeating bunch of misguided, just plain stupid, death-worshiping fools on the planet? God, I hope not:

    Arabs greeted the capture of Saddam Hussein with divided emotions Sunday, welcoming the arrest of a dictator yet tinged with regret that a symbol of Arab defiance against the United States was behind bars.

    Some feared Saddam’s capture would boost President Bush, who many Arabs believe has waged a campaign against them and other Muslims after the September 11 attacks. But others said the fight against U.S. occupation would go on.

    ….”I only wish it was not the Americans who got him. I don’t like Saddam but as an Arab I wouldn’t like to see them (Americans) dragging him around Baghdad,” said Syrian student Abdul-Nasser.

    For others, the capture was disappointing news. Saddam may have been seen as a dictator who oppressed his people, but many also saw him as the only Arab leader who stood up to the United States, which they said rode roughshod through the region.

    “Of course it’s bad news. To us, Saddam was a symbol of defiance to the U.S. plans in the region. And we support any person who stands in the face of the American dominance,” said Azzam Hneidi, an Islamist member of Jordan’s parliament.

    Others said the U.S. success might prove fleeting, saying Iraqis were not fighting for Saddam but for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

    “The situation in Iraq will not change much. I don’t think the resistance was linked to Saddam and it will increase as was the case after the death of Uday and Qusay,” said Yemeni political analyst Saeed Shabet, referring to Saddam’s two sons.

    ….”It’s a black day in history. I am saying so not because Saddam is an Arab but because he is the only man who said ‘no’ to American injustice in the Middle East,” said Fadiq Husam, a 33-year-old taxi driver in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

    ….”We are so happy they got him…The people of Iraq have been brainwashed by the Saddam regime. They need another 20 years to realize that the Kuwaitis are not to blame for the Iraqis’ plight,” said Kuwaiti Mohammad al-Hudieb, cruising the Arabian Gulf seafront in his jeep. [Reuters]

At least the Kuwaitis have some sense of reality – it’s a relief.

What next?

    Saddam’s capture changes but does not end the insurgency. The ability of the remaining Baathists to terrorize the Iraqi people into cooperation will reduced enormously. As will their ability to be funded out of Saddam’s coffers. There must be others who have access to the funds that Saddam has been passing to insurgents, but those with access are now as likely to take the money and run as pass it to the insurgents.

    ….This is a turning point in the war because – if handled correctly – it can change the fight from a brewing ethnic civil war to one of Iraq and the Coalition against external forces. Some Iraqis will leave their ranks, and many others will stay in allegiance to various Shia and Sunni groups – and nations – that support them. Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia should be warned one last time that they will not escape any and all Coalition actions to stop their meddling in Iraq. This is not a quiet evening in Riyadh, Damascus, or Tehran. They hear footsteps, and they sound like American footsteps.

    ….Those Saddam loyalists still out there will not want to give up, because they fear what he now faces: a war-crimes tribunal made up of the Iraqi people themselves. British P.M. Tony Blair said that Saddam will be tried by the Iraqis. He must be, and very soon. Saddam caught is not as valuable – to us and to Iraq – as Saddam dead.

    ….What we – and Iraq – both need is for Saddam to be given a fair – no, make that fair enough – trial and be executed for his mass murders.

    ….The Allies set up war-crimes tribunals to try Nazi and Japanese criminals, and we didn’t need the U.N. or some international court to do it for us. Dust off the Nuremberg rules, convene a panel, and get on with it. We cannot allow the Iraqis to do less. [Jed Babbin]

That’s exactly right: the Iraqis should try him post haste and execute him for mass murder, torture, and plundering the national treasure. We will guide them.

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.dirtgrain.com/weblog Jan Eggers

    It would be interesting to know more about the “Arab Street” who are quoted in your first excerpt. Are they in the minority (Bathist Sunnis who were favored by Saddam and his party) or majority (Shiites who were not so favored by Saddam; also Kurds and other religions)? Obviously, it would make a difference. Kurds must be dancing right now. It may be that at least some of the reporters are biased to look only for controversial reactions.

  • http://www.iamrighturpie.blogspot.com/ jadester

    i think it would be better to lock him up and throw away the key. Literally. like, in some inescapable cell where you can’t actually get into without using a crane or something. Seal it up and leave a small corridor at the top so bread and water can be thrown in every few days. leave him to contemplate his end, and don’t make a martyr of him.

  • http://www.cafeshops.com/saddam_clock.8980091 Saddam
  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    Yo Saddam, that “Time’s Up” clock is cute. I suspect it would get a little old looking at it every day after the novelty wears off, but it certainly is pretty amusing today.

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    You asked “What next?” and this may be the answer”

    “Today, I have signed into law HR 1828, the ‘Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003,’” Bush said in a statement released by the White House. [Dec. 12, 2003]

    It’s bipartisan, with huge support in the House and the Senate. Maybe the Dems are getting ready to deny it after it goes wrong as part of their election strategy for 2008.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    I’m with you, Jadester. Killing him would be wrong.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    Here’s another who thinks killing him would be a bad idea. It would probably only reinforce those who oppose us, regardless of whether we had a hand in the trial and execution of Saddam. Putting him to death fuels those who still support him, and would likely lead to more pain and suffering on everyone’s part.

  • http://www.kalyr.com/weblog Tim Hall

    We certainly should not kill him. Whether we let the Iraqis kill him is another issue.

    The one thing that’s certain is he needs to be put on public trial for his crimes. He deserves as fair a trial as Goring and Ribbentrop.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    “Whether we let the Iraqis>/i>…” (emphasis mine)

    Am I the only one who finds that concept frightening?

    That said, if anyone kills him, it’s immoral.

  • http://www.kalyr.com/weblog Tim Hall

    I’m not suggesting we hand him over to a mob to be lynched.

    Personally I oppose the death penalty. But I’m a little bit less opposed to it for someone whose crimes are as vast as Saddam.

    Life imprisonment might actually be a worse punishment. I hope that’s what happens to him. Perhaps he can share a cell with Slobodan Milosovich.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    There are shades of gray in many things, but either you’re for state-sanctioned killing or not. You certainly have the right to have your opinion be conditional, though.

    The notion of Saddam and Slobo sharing a cell for eternity is an interesting one. And hopefully, the Bushes et al would join them in the very near future.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Hasn’t the Iraqi war crimes tribunal (the name of which I forget) already said that the death penalty is off the table? That was said before Saddam was captured, but it should still apply.

    He’ll need to be tried in Iraq. His crimes were against the people of Iraq first and foremost, and the ICC doesn’t have the authority to try him for anything prior to 1992, and so would miss the majority of his worst crimes.

    If we can’t trust the Iraqis to provide a fair trial for Saddam, how on earth can we trust them to run their own country? I say, turn him over to the Iraqis to try in a fair trial, and get that Constitution written, too. He’ll end up in a cell for life within Iraq, so no Slobodan as a bunkmate.

  • Eric Olsen

    I am opposed to capital punishment also, in America. While I have no problem from the punishment perspective to let him rot in jail, I fear what his remaining alive might do as a symbol and to what lengths his supporters may go to secure his release, if you know what I mean (reference “24”).

    Reports today said no punishment was off the table.

  • JR

    What next? How about teaching Iraqis not to fire guns into the air in celebration? It’s a really stupid thing to do.

  • Eric Olsen

    this happens in many cultures and it’s always stupid and often deadly.

  • http://www.iamrighturpie.blogspot.com/ jadester

    hell, the Greeks, or at least the Cretians, fire guns at road signs when there’s a wedding
    in the more mountainous areas, there aren’t many road signs still readable =+)

  • JR

    Yeah, they do that here, only they don’t wait for a wedding. The speed limit sign seems to be the preferred prey of drunken teen hunters. Some would argue they are performing a public service by trying to eradicate an invasive species.